339-341 Plenty Road, Preston

“Gowerville”- situated on the corner of Gower Street,-comprises of two properties; a bluestone brick residence and a solid brick shop. The land was part of 537 acres bought by Englishman Abel Gower in 1838. In 1859 his widow, Victoria Elizabeth Gower, arranged for its sale and subdivision. The origin of the bluestone farmhouse is uncertain but was built around 1870. The buyer of the subdivision was George Duff Taylor, a wealthy Irishman.

The bluestone was quarried along Darebin Creek between 1872 and 1886. Edwin Harden, a salesman, was renting the stone and weatherboard house and 6 acres in 1896, the year Taylor sold the land to a Melbourne solicitor, Frank Madden. Madden owned the property, plus 5 adjoining acres until 1908, when he sold it A.W.C. Martin. During Madden's ownership, there had been carpenter Harry and his family of five as tenants.

Around 1902, the fenced land had been occupied by clergyman, James Watson. By 1916, Mary and Albert Millman were the owners, and lived here with their family of six until the 1930s. It is probable that Mary ran a confectioner/greengrocer business from the shop. There is no information as to when the shop was built though it is believed to be between 1916 and 1930.

The shop was, from 1994 - 2005, known as "The Scrounge Lizard". Glen Cowan and Philippa de Bondt bought the buildings in August 1994 and made extensive renovations to the shop and some to the house which they undertook over three years. It has been recommended to be listed by The National Trust, The Historic Buildings Register and on the National Estate Register.

Forster, Harley W. (1968). Preston Lands and People. Melbourne: Cheshire.

Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory 1864- 1974. [Microfiche]. (1974). Melbourne, Australia: Sands & McDougall.